Most readings aren't great because most writers aren't great readers. Then there's Gary Shteyngart, who, if he hadn't moved with his family to New York City when he was 7 and grown up to become a best-selling writer of comic literary fiction, probably would have ended up as some sort of charmer in a Russian circus. He reads from the paperback of Absurdistan, a novel narrated by a grossly overweight man with "a pretty Jewish beak." (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7 pm, free.)